South Africa’s crowdfunding platform hits the R5 million mark

5million

Since being founded in June 2013, Thundafund.com, South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform for innovators and creatives, has grown considerably and now boasts a tally of 136 successfully funded projects and over R5 million raised for these projects.

Thundafund.com provides an online platform for entrepreneurs with innovative and ground-breaking ideas to present their idea to the world, receive the mentorship and support that they need, so that they can raise the funding they need to bring their ideas to life. It’s not a hand out – it’s a hand up.

Currently, Thundafund.com has 34 projects live on their crowdfunding platform with special partnerships with the Department of Arts and Culture, in the form of “Creative Economic Development Project”, as well as a partnership with UCT Upstarts, the University of Cape Town’s Vice-Chancellor’s Social Innovation Challenge.

For more information please visit www.thundafund.com or contact marketing@thundafund.com

#ThundaTip : Action Learning (learning from your mistakes)

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Action Learning is basically learning from your mistakes and asking the important questions that will get you to the results you want to achieve.

The Action Learning Model can be applied to any aspect of your Thundafund crowdfunding campaign. Whether that’s your social media marketing, setting up your campaign on Thundafund or even your marketing strategy. Applying this model to your creative and collective processes will get you closer to your dreams and goals.

Applying the Action Learning model to your campaign:

1) Plan – decide on what you want to achieve and what the first step toward that goal will be.

2) Act – apply the first step/action.

3) Observe – after implementing the first step ask yourself if you have achieved the goal you set out to achieve.

4) Reflect – what have you learned from this exercise? What needs to change? What could you have done differently?

5) Start Again – Start the cycle again, and again and again until your objectives are achieved.

actionlearning1
So simple, yet so rewarding.

Good luck with the rest of your campaign. Let the FUNDing find you and remember the Thundafund Mantra:

#MakeItRain

#ThundaTip: Closing Your Campaign With Style

Imagine the Scene:

The presidential elections have just finished after months of kissing babies and standing at podiums. The new president has been announced and the crowds are lining the streets in front of Parliament…and the new president is silent! He/She is nowhere to be seen, no follow up or celebration. It’s never happened. President-elects have a post-campaign going around the country thanking everyone for their support and ensuring them that they made the right choice.

BE LIKE A PRESIDENT!

Barack Obama


Think of your post-campaign period of your campaign as the follow up and reward fulfilment phase.


PHASE 1: FOLLOW UP

Continue Online Updates

Promote a sense of mutual success and collaboration by remaining active with campaign related content online. Make sure to give the supporters no reason for concern that their funding has gone towards a worthwhile cause and that they will indeed receive their rewards in a reasonable time.

Some ideas of post-campaign updates:

  • “We Are The Champions” – Celebration Post
  • Best Supporters
  • Most Popular Rewards
  • Team Celebrations
  • Throw Back Thursdays
  • Campaign Highlights
  • Reward Delivery Updates
  • “Seeing is Believing” – Updates of when the project comes to life.

Remember you can keep the frequency of updates to quite a lot less than when you were  actually campaigning.

NB – Email Your Thundafund Database

At the end of your campaign you will receive an Excel Sheet with all your supporters on it and all their campaign related details. (Name, Surname, Email, Reward/s Bought, Contact Number, Postal Address & Physical Address). Use this information to follow up LIKE A BOSS!

Eg. Create customized reward report emails for those who bought specific rewards (locally & internationally).


PHASE 2: REWARD FULFILMENT

Fulfilling your commitment to providing rewards in the time frame that you have clearly communicated to your backers is crucial to your idea’s LONG TERM SUCCESS…and you’re legally obligated to do so 😉

Providing Rewards

In your Thundafund Database you will receive the rewards chosen and delivery details of all your supporters. You’ll need to ‘deliver’ different rewards in different ways:

  • Recognition

If it was a social media shout out…you should probably have already provided this reward during the campaign. If not, it’s never too late to say THANK YOU!

  • Retail

Use a reliable courier to deliver your rewards, unfortunately the South African Postal Service just won’t cut it these days.

Ensure that the item is packaged properly and with a heart felt letter attached with a campaign summary and thank you.

  • Experience

Make sure to communicate when, where and how this experience will be facilitated. Providing location, time & date as well as any other relevant information.

Make this a hassle free and WOW experience!

ii. Communication 

“Communication is key to any good relationship”

The annoying marriage councillor that said this is actually right! If there is anything that a supporter should know regarding their and any other rewards, then let them know.

  • Delays

Inform supporters of delays, as soon as possible before it actually becomes a delay. Try keep these updates to the relevant supporters whose rewards are being delayed.

  • Success

When rewards are delivered let every relevant supporter know about it and post images | videos about it online. Celebrate Success!


Providing your supporters with their rewards is an exciting period, but is also hard work and filled with twists and turns. It separates good campaigns from GREAT ones!

#MakeItRain


#ThundaTip : Building your ‘Online Presence’

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‘Online Presence’ simply means the different ways you represent yourself and your idea/innovation/dream on the internet.

If a potential backer were to search for you on the internet, what would they find? That’s right – there’s more than one way to create your online identity besides a website. And they range from free to low cost options that require little to no technical expertise.

Why it matters to you and your campaign?

Having a strong ‘Online Presence’, relative to your funding goal, is crucial to crowdfunding success for two reasons:

  1. In order to direct potential supporters to your campaign page, you need to easily and effectively contact them through various online platforms. You can’t spend your campaign trying to gain followers, likes and subscriptions – before you launch your campaign they should all be there!
  2. If a potential backer wants to find out more about you – they need to see that you are legit through looking at others who have followed you on your various online platforms. Giving them more confidence in your idea and making them more likely to back your campaign!

How?

Now that you know the theory behind what ‘Online Presence’ is and why you need it, you need to understand how to do it!

Building an online presence isn’t about being a loud mouth and show-boating your idea to everybody and anybody, that’s not going to get you very far. You have to be very strategic about what kind of message you’re putting out to the world, so that the people that notice you are the right kind of people (aka. Your Target market).

Using a combination of the most popular Online Marketing Channels below to build your communicate your message through and build your community!

Blog

Blog

“A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

  • #DearDiary – Don’t have a website? Then start a blog. Blogs are the best way to present yourself as a legitimate and trustworthy entity, without getting an expensive and fancy website. If you’re thinking long term, a regularly updated blog is a must have. Examples include: WordPress, Wix, Weebly
  • Content – Blog posts are a lot longer than Facebook posts, and go into detail on the topic, event or concept that you want to write about. You can write about anything, just make sure that it’s something your readers want to see.
  • Posting – Varies depending on content;  1-3 per week. Whenever you post on your blog it emails your subscriber, nifty hey?

How to Create a Successful Business Blog

Facebook

Facebook

  • #OnlyOption – If you had to only choose one social media platform to build an online community on, choose this one. You can think of Facebook as your home on the internet, allowing you to post messages and photos, as well as start conversations. It’s main purpose must be for you to have as many like-minded followers like your page, and engage with the information that you post.
  • Reach: To increase reach, ensure that your followers engage with your posts. Everytime someone likes your page or comments on your posts, it can appear in THEIR FRIENDS‘ feed, increasing the number of people that see you.
  • Posting – If you post too much on Facebook, it will restrict the number of people that see your page. So keep posts to 2-5 per day, no more.
  • Content – Facebook for Business nicely describes what sort of content any organization | business should post.  Post a mixture of information that would interest your reader that isn’t about you (content marketing), and information about your product | service.

Facebook for Business

Twitter

Twitter

“Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called tweets.”

  • #ConversationStation – Twitter is best for getting people chatting about what you’re doing.
  • Reach – Mention influencial people & organizations to inform them about who you are and what you do, engage in trending conversations and tweet | re-tweet content that your followers will like.
  • Content – Attaching images to your tweets increases engagement big time, remember that an image takes up 23 characters.
  • Posting – You can share a lot more tweets on Twitter than posts on Facebook, go for 5 – 10 per day. Don’t even be afraid to post a specific tweet more 3 times in a day.

5 Essential Elements Of A Great Twitter Content Strategy

Instagram

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“Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms.”

  • Content – Pretty pictures! Make sure to use the right hashtags (#) in your posts, as they act as categories for people searching a certain kind of image. So use hashtags that are popular, are make up one and push people to use it. Take pictures of behind the scenes action, things you see throughout your day and images of your project idea’s product | service.
  • Reach: Follow like-minded accounts and comment on their posts to gain followers.
  • Posting – Post as much on Instagram as you would on Facebook. However, quality over quantity always wins. Make sure that the images you take represent your brand that you’d like to put out to the world.

 Instagram 101 – 7 Keys Steps to Instagram Success

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

“LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service.”

  • #Let’sTalkBusiness – Linked in is Facebook for business, but has the added awesomeness of a Blog!
  • Content – Post professional content that will represent you. Content ideas include productivity tips, research articles, news updates and business advise.
  • Reach -Follow professionals in your industry, ‘endors’ their skills and ‘like’ their professional activity.
  • Posting – Don’t post more than once a day on LinkedIn. It’s a very direct message to your followers so you don’t want to spam them. Aim for 5 posts a week and don’t forget to use the right ‘tags’ to categorize your posts.

11 Tips for Creating a Buzz-Worthy LinkedIn Company Page

Email

Email

  • #You’veGotMail: We strongly suggest MailChimp as your choice for a mass-emailer as your conventional mailers (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc) allows a limited number of emails to be sent at once. MailChimp is free if you have up to 2000 contacts on your email list and is quite user friendly for beginners.
  • Content: Post updates on what’s been happening with you and your business, special offers | events and exciting news. Make sure to email your subscribers content that they value, emails can so easily turn into spam. Use catchy headings and keep it to the point, no long paragraphs of writing in these emails!
  • Posting: Try only send out database emails when it’s absolutely necessary. Monthly at the least, weekly at the most.

15 Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

 Now that you’ve got the “What?”, “Why?” and “How?” out the way, go out there and build your digital community!

#MakeItRain

#ThundaTip : Telling Your Story

Concept image with What is Your Story printed on an old typewriter

“Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a brave crowdfunder set out to tell the world about her amazing idea.”

Writing out your campaign copy is not the same as creating a document for investors to analyse with business terms and big fancy words. The everyday Joe is going to be backing your campaign – speak to them.

People are moved to action by emotional story telling rather than by facts and figures. Think about the TV adverts that you will never forget, do you ever remember numbers and figures? Do you ever remember disingenuous sales tactics? No, you remember how it made you FEEL.

When writing about your crowdfunding campaign, you have got to make people feel. Make them inspired, make them relate to your mission, make them excited about how awesome your project is and that the world can’t go on without it!


The copy of your campaign on Thundafund.com is split into 3 different parts.

1. Matchbox Pitch

This match box pitch is exactly what the name suggests, a write up of your idea that is so short it can be written on the back of a matchbox.

You need to create a paragraph of no more than 140 characters (The same length as a tweet on Twitter) that you can fire off to a potential supporter, in order to gain their backing.

It also appears in your Project Widget on Thundafund.com:

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2. About the project

This section is an extension of your matchbox pitch and should be around 60-80 words long:

About the Project

Make sure that it ends off with a ‘Call-to-Action’ or a challenge. A ‘Call-to-Action’ tells people what you would ideally like them to do and a challenge sets out what you aim to achieve.

Also direct supporter to your rewards set like this:

 Call to Action

3. The Full Story

Now you’ve grabbed the attention of your potential supporters. They are interested in who you are and what you’re aiming to achieve through your crowdfunding campaign, but they need a little more convincing.

Like any educated consumer, people need information and emotional engagement in order to part with their hard earned cash and | or engage in supporting something.

A good structure to make sure you’re not missing out on anything:

  1. Who are you?

Whether you’re an individual or an organization, it’s always polite to introduce who you are. Make sure that readers understand what it is that you do, so that it makes sense in the scheme of the campaign.

  1. Past, Present, Future

Give brief highlights on what you have done in the past, where you are now and where you aim to be in the future.

Read to rise

  1. Why you’re crowdfunding?

Detail out to readers what you’re aiming to achieve through a successful crowdfunding campaign. This is the crux of the matter, if you can’t explain to people why you’re running a campaign it’s going to leave them very confused.

Im crowdfunding

  1. Milestone Details. 

Write out how much money you need at each Milestone, and what that money is going towards. Be as specific as you can be, people want to know exactly what their money is going towards.

Milestone

  1. The Ask

A lot of people, and organizations, struggle to ask for donations or to ask people to buy rewards…just be out with it! You will never gain anything from being quiet, you might as well give yourself a chance.

  1. You can follow us here.

Adding your online links at the bottom of the page is always a great option to allow readers to do further research on you, or to let them engage on your social media without actually buying a reward.

Spread the love


If you follow these tips, and add your own pizazz, you are surely on your way to writing a crowdfunding story that will inspire the most hardened money-saver to support your campaign!

#MakeItRain

#ThundaTip : Creating a ‘Campaign Promotion Journal’

Keeping a  ‘Campaign Promotion Journal’ is crucial to defining your marketing strategy. If you have to make time to do ANYTHING, make it this.

When writing up your journal, you have to be in the mindset of making connections! Consider who you hope to engage with, and how strategic communication will help build your ‘digital neighbourhood’.


WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

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Detailing exactly who you’re going to approach for funding and support is a very important task. These are the people you need to chat to:

1. Target Audience

  • Pin point people that will appreciate what you’re doing. Try be as specific as possible in grouping them by characteristics.
  • Give each group a name and explain why that group appreciates your campaign.

2. Campaign Cronies

  • Many hands make light work. Get a group of your best people together that are dedicated to the success of your campaign to help spread the word and to be your ‘brains trust’.
  • Ask them to commit to backing your campaign as it launches – and estimate that contribution.
  • Also, write down which network they are able to tap into best.
  • List 10.

3. Early Supporters

  • So they’re not your best buds, but they will know who you are if you give them a call. Make sure to secure these 2nd level supporters and ask them to contribute.
  • Again, estimate their collective contribution.
  • State their name, contact details, contribution amount and how you plan on contacting them.
  • List 20.

4. Organization Promoters

  • Established organizations have rapport and connections! Approach organizations that can help you reach your target market and that will feel a benefit from being associated with your campaign.
  • When approaching them, be sure to provide them with some form of value for adopting | promoting your organization – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Also, if you know someone that works there you should contact them as your ‘in’.
  • List 20.

When approaching these various groups, make sure to create template approach messages | emails for each group. This makes it easy to throw in a name and change some group specific information in each message, without having to create a whole new one every time.


MEDIA MOVERS

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Approaching the media is all about identifying those outlets that will see your campaign as quality content for their viewership. Approach them individually, not with bulk mail, and customize your introduction to their unique services.

1. Local Media Influencers

  • Make a list of at least 10 LOCAL newspapers, radio stations or online publications that you aim to approach and be promoted on.

2. National Media Game-Changers

  • Make a list of at least 10 NATIONAL newspapers, radio stations or online publications that you aim to approach and be promoted on.

3. Big Time Bloggers

  • Research ‘Bloggers’ that you think would like to shout out about your campaign.
  • Don’t be alarmed if they request some remuneration for writing up a post on your campaign. This is an industry norm, that you might need to weight up the pro’s and con’s of ROI.

4. Terrific Tweeters

  • Track down influencial people in the ‘Twittersphere’ and get them to write the 140 characters on your campaign.
  • Mention them in a tweet on the lines of : “Hey @TerrificTweeter, have you seen our #crowdfunding campaign doing X? You’d dig it! If so, let’s DM? >>> thundafund.com/URL”

For each of these organizations | people make sure to write down these points: 

  • Name.
  • Why they’d be interested in your campaign.
  • Contact Information
  • How you’re going to contact them.
  • The date you’re going to contact them.

By creating the ‘Campaign Promotion Journal’ you’ll be sure that your contacting everybody that’s anybody – leaving you with the peace of mind that you’re doing what needs to be done.


#MakeItRain

#ThundaTip : Failing to prepare is failing to be AWESOME!

fail-to-prepare-prepare-to-fail1

So your campaign page is busy being built and you’re chomping at the bit to go live. Why not use this ‘down time’ to prepare for your campaign?

While you’re finishing off your final touches we suggest that you ensure you get these points DOWN!

Campaign Customized Press Release

  • Create a campaign Press Release – how else are people going to find out?
  • Make sure it is customized to your crowdfunding campaign, and not just an expose on your organization | idea.
  • Highlight what crowdfunding is, what the project is about and why people should want to be a part of it.
  • Send this Press Release to Thundafund – so we can send it to our people.

Soft Launch

  • Before you go live get as many family, friends, aunties and uncles ready to back your campaign as soon as it goes live. R0 raised doesn’t look great to new onlookers – start off with a bang.

Images of Rewards

Campaign Pitch Video

  • You’re probably being held up from launch because of your video, right? (We know what you’re thinking, and yes… we are psychic.)
  • Keep working on it. A campaign video is one of the most important elements of a successful campaign.
  • Blog Post : Make a Crowdfunding Video That Sells Itself.

Once you’ve got these down we’re sure you’ll be ready for crowdfunding success.

We’re aiming to get your campaign up and soon as possible – perfection takes time!


Until then,

#MakeItRain

#ThundaTip : Would you buy a pair of shoes if you’ve never seen them?

“Images spark the imagination and infographics provide inspiration!” – Some Really Clever Person

Crowdfunding is predominantly a ‘retail experience’. People look at your campaign and think to themselves, “Hmmm…I really like your idea and what you’re all about, but what do I get out of giving away my money?”  

This is where you need to use all resources at your disposal to woo potential supporters into becoming fully fledged backers. They’re a picky bunch, you need to dazzle them with pretty pictures and fun facts.

One major way that you can do this is through providing images of the rewards that you’re offering. Images of the rewards in your rewards set can make all the difference…

If you want advise on how to do so – just ask the Secret Love Project and their We’re keeping the homeless warm this winter campaign. They just used a video and images to tell there story…no funny business, straight to the good stuff.

Whether they’re shown in your rewards carousel,

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or they’re in your write up!

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And if you say – “But we can’t take picture of our rewards, what will we do!?” – follow Kahn Morbee’s advice from his Much Love Khan campaign. Create graphical representations of your rewards to add a little spice to the flavour!

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#MakeItRain,

The Thundafund Team
www.thundafund.com

PS: Remember to pop us an email if you’ve got any exciting updates or payment gremlins…
• Projects Team: hello@thundafund.com
• Accounts Team: accounts@thundafund.com 

Funding for Film-makers : Old oxymoron or new innovation?

Crowdfunding, the act of funding ideas through gaining small amounts of funding from a large number of supporters – typically through the internet, has become a powerful tool for film making all over the world.

tacoasylumfilmmaker

Seeing the rise of crowdfunding and what it can do for entrepreneurs; filmmakers have quickly acted upon seeing it’s potential. A popular example cited of this potential is seen in the renowned film director Spike Lee, who raised US$1.4m from more than 6,000 backers for his new feature film. However, as crowdfunding expert Christopher Hird will tell you:

“As the veteran of several crowdfunding campaigns – successful and otherwise – I can vouchsafe that they are far from easy; they need proper planning and execution.”

This is why Thundafund.com – South Afria’s leading crowdfunding platform for Innovators & Creatives- has decided to bring in Christopher Hird to have a conversation about crowdfunding for film documentaries | projects, and what to do in order to achieve success.

He will be sharing his wealth of experience in crowdfunding, the highs, the lows and everything in between. Imparting his wisdom of how to use crowdfunding to create grass-roots audiences around documentaries, for the betterment of film.

Christoper Hird from Dartmouth Films

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Christopher Hird established Dartmouth Films in 2008 to pioneer in the UK new ways of funding, making and distributing independent documentaries, especially supporting first time and emerging filmmakers.

Dartmouth Films have since used crowdfunding on six occasions in recent years to help fund their films. Earlier this year Dartmouth raised over £70,000 – the highest for a UK documentary – to help fund the next film by award winning journalist John Pilger – The Coming War Between the USA and China.

The presentation will be on Wednesday the 29th July from 10:00-11:00 at the UCT Graduate School of Business’ ‘Solution Space’. Attendees will benefit from reading up on crowdfunding beforehand, to have a basic grasp of the idea.

Entrance is free, but please RSVP on their Eventbrite page HERE to confirm your attendance.

You can also contact Thundafund on hello@thundafund.com or call on (+27) 074 8544314 for more information.


Until then,

#MakeItRain

ThundaTip : Making A Crowdfunding Video That Sells Itself

One major key to crowdfunding success is creating a great video that sells your campaign to backers. Video clips give backers a better idea of your campaign as they can see you and your product in action.

1. Video and audio quality are important.

  • Shooting high­ quality video on an iPhone or Android device is possible; just make sure the phone is stable and the audio is clear.
  • Show that you can put just as much care and attention into presenting your idea as you will into executing it.
  • Keep it visually interesting: be sure to use great visual aids, graphics and props to enhance the quality of your video.

2. Write a script and make sure it hits all the key points of your crowdfunding campaign.

  • Include the who, what and why of your campaign. (Revise it until it is perfect. You should sound natural when you shoot the final product.)
  • Sell the story first, then your product. Overall, sell an experience.
  • Make it easy for viewers to understand your concept to creation. When you make it easy for people to walk through your product’s story, it immediately builds credibility.
  • When you sell experiences, people intuitively realize the need for them to buy your product.

3. Highlight only two or three of your best rewards.

  • You want to get the viewer excited about what you are offering through some of your best rewards. (Enthusiasm is contagious and drives purchases.)
  • For the remaining rewards, include a simple call to action telling the viewer that the entire list is on your project page.

4. Keep it short, get to the point quickly and end with a bang!

  • The video should be short (30 seconds ­ 2 minutes), exciting and get the viewer fired up and wanting to read more about what you are offering and get involved.
  • People have busy lives and short attention spans. Don’t lose your viewers before getting to the most important part ­ asking for them to back your project and spread the word about your campaign.

5. Don’t forget ‘the ask.’

  • Every successful salesperson in the world will tell you that if you do not ask for a sale, you will not get it.
  • In your video be sure to ask that they purchase a reward|s and to spread the crowdfunding project to their friends and social­ media network.
  • “The ask” should be clear, carefully worded and create a sense of urgency and action. Tell people specifically what to do and don’t leave it up to them to figure it out on their own. But make sure it is sincere, as this authentic message can turn a viewer into a backer and marketing machine.

6. Learn from their experience.

  • If this is your first time making a video, don’t be intimidated. Spend time watching other successful crowdfunding campaign videos, observing what makes a great video and overall inspiration.
  • People who have successfully raised a lot of money through crowdfunding typically have very good videos… (If a video has already proven itself to make good money, why risk reinventing the wheel?)

7. Your campaign URL.

  • Near to the beginning of your video, state outright: ‘We are crowdfunding through Thundafund to…”. It gives context and direction to the video.
  • Have your URL and contact details included in your video as well as in the video information when uploaded to Vimeo | Youtube.
  • Regarding the video information we’d suggest to create a ‘Tweet’ where your crowdfunding aim is summarised in a sentence, including your url and who to contact for further information.

People like to see campaigns that have passion, combined with some great product demonstration to prove that what you’re selling works. If you can blend these tips together into a video, you have an almost sure winner in the making… And oh, don’t forget to enjoy the process!


Thundafund Video Inspiration

Cape Town’s First Chocolate Café! by Honest Chocolate

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Space Saving Vertical Gardens by Mooibos

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Getting books to kids by Bookdash ­

FeedBack Loop by Rhodes University Fine Arts Department


Video Tip Inception : Video tips within video tips…

Your Story. 

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What Makes a Great CrowdFunding Video?


A picture speaks a thousand words – a video says it all…